Grant helps R-4 SD lower diesel emissions

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Cassville R-4 School District has received a special Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) grant that will help its transportation department reduce harmful diesel emissions.

"We received the grant to help eliminate diesel waste to the atmosphere," said Joe Cavness, R-4 School District operations director. "We were able to complete two projects with the grant funding."

A portion of the grant allowed the district to replace the mufflers on nine older buses. The new mufflers are designed to lower diesel emissions.

Last year, the district used the grant funding to purchase DOC low emission mufflers, which were installed by district staff members.

"The second part of the grant was for bus replacement," said Cavness. "We have been working on this portion for a year. It paid 50 percent of the cost for a new bus up to $40,000 if the new bus complied with EPA standards."

This year, the Cassville School Board approved a low bid from Midwest Bus Sales for the new bus, which will cost $86,000. The district will receive a $40,000 reimbursement for the bus, which will lower the cost of the vehicle to $46,000.

In the past, the Cassville School District purchased two new buses each year. This year, less money was budgetted for transportation purchases.

"Because of the budget cuts, the district planned to only purchase one bus this year," said Cavness. "Since we were able to get this bus at half price, the board elected to take advantage of the grant, which will allow us to purchase two buses again this year."

The bus purchased using the grant funding will be identical to the bus purchased with district funds in July. All Cassville school buses are 84-passenger vehicles.

The district maintains a fleet of 25 buses with seven spare buses. A pair of buses in the fleet are wheelchair accessible.

The EPA grant was administered by the Ozark Center for Sustainable Solutions (OCSS) at Drury University in Springfield.

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